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Degree Requirement

To be certified by HRPA, and earn the right to use the Certified Human Resources Professionals designation, applicants must have a degree from a recognized educational institution.  The degree need not be in Human Resources, however.  Advanced degrees also count as degrees for the purposes of the degree requirement.

The degree requirement is established under the statutory authority conferred to the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) pursuant to the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990.  Section 4(1) (a) of the Act gives HRPA the statutory authority to “prescribe the curriculum and the courses of study to be pursued by the students and candidates in order to satisfy the academic requirements of any particular registration.

Rationale for the Degree Requirement

The degree requirement was established as an eligibility requirement to ensure that Human Resources management professionals possess the generic competencies necessary to perform in human resources roles at the required level.  The degree requirement was not established to ensure that candidates possess discipline-specific knowledge and skills.

The degree requirement is separate from the coursework requirement.  For those who take a degree in Human Resources, both coursework and degree requirement may be fulfilled concurrently; for others, the coursework and the degree requirements will be met independently.  Although the degree requirement and the coursework requirement are separate requirements, they are designed to work together.  The degree requirement can be non-specific because of the existence of a coursework requirement.  In the end, to be certified by HRPA, an individual must have both the requisite discipline-specific knowledge of human resources management and the generic skills required to perform at a professional level in human resources.  It is just that HRPA’s certification model recognizes that discipline-specific knowledge and generic skills are not necessarily acquired at the same time and place.

Certificates and diplomas do not meet the degree requirement.  Applied degrees which are awarded by colleges are degrees.  Degrees from non-Canadian educational institutions are acceptable as long as they are deemed equivalent to a Canadian degree.  This equivalency must be established by an approved accreditation service.  Degrees include advanced degrees.

There is no time limit on the validity of academic credentials in the context of the degree requirement.

For more information about the history of the degree requirement and the degree standard, please review the HRPA Certification Handbook.  The Handbook can be found on the main page of the Office of the Registrar section of the website.

Exception to the Degree Requirement

The degree requirement comes into effect January 1, 2011.  After that date, individuals will need a degree to be certified by HRPA.  The following transitional exception has been made however; members who pass the National Knowledge Exam (NKE) before January 1, 2011, will be allowed to complete their certification process without the requirement of a degree.  Please consult our website for more information about the last sitting of the NKE available in 2010, and the registration deadlines.

History of the Degree Requirement

For more detailed information regarding the history of the HRPA degree requirement, review the HRPA Certification Handbook located on the Office of the Registrar page of our website.

Non-Canadian Degrees

Non-Canadian degrees count toward the degree requirement as long as they are deemed equivalent to a Canadian degree.  HRPA does not conduct such assessments.  HRPA accepts credential equivalency assessment reports from the credential evaluation agencies and organizations listed below.  An original copy from the service will be required.  Be advised that reports must advise of equivalency of a completed degree.  Partial completions will not be accepted.

The agencies and organizations listed below adhere to the General Guiding Principles for Good Practice in the Assessment of Foreign Credentials and the Recommendation on Criteria and Procedures for the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications adopted under the 1997 Lisbon Recognition Convention.

Comparative Education Service (CES)

School of Continuing Studies

University of Toronto

158 St. George Street

Toronto, Ontario   M5S 2V8   Canada

Tel.: +1 416 978-2400

Fax: +1 416 978-7022


Web site:

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)

Ontario AgriCentre

100 Stone Road West, Suite 303

Guelph, Ontario N1G 5L3   Canada

Tel: +1 519 763-7282

Toll-free: +1 800 321-6021

Fax: +1 519 763-6964


Web site:

World Education Services-Canada (WES Canada)

45 Charles Street East, Suite 700

Toronto, Ontario  M4Y 1S2  Canada

Tel.: +1 416 972-0070

Fax: +1 416 972-9004

Toll-free: +1 866 343-0070 (from outside the 416 area code)


Web site:

Note that the credential assessment discussed here is in the context of the degree requirement.  Candidates wishing to get credit for specific courses in the context of the coursework requirement need to apply for the approval of non-approved courses or an alternate route application.  Credit for specific courses is granted by the Educational Standards Sub-Committee upon review of requisite information.

Degree Requirement and the Certification Process

HRPA members pursuing the designation will be required to show proof of a completed recognized degree, in addition to meeting all other certification requirements, prior to be granted the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.

Individuals who do not already have a degree are advised that there is still time to obtain a degree.  An individual’s personal path to certification must take into account when approved academic courses were completed, and when the National Knowledge Exam is passed.

Individuals can write the NKE before achieving the degree, but once the NKE is passed, members have five years from that time to show proof of a completed recognized degree and to obtain the professional experience requirement. 

Individuals who choose to complete the degree before writing the NKE need to ensure that their nine academic courses being applied to the coursework requirement for eligibility to write the NKE do not expire.  This means that one must write and pass the NKE within ten years of their course completion dates. 

Degree Requirement Documentation 

HRPA will accept an original transcript from the recognized educational institution, or original documentation from the recognized credential assessment services noted earlier.  Original transcripts are ordered through the Registrar’s Office of the degree granting institution, and may be sent directly to HRPA.  Please notify HRPA if your name has changed since achieving a degree.  Proof of name change documentation will be required by HRPA before degree credit will be accepted.

Information regarding Degree Granting Programs

Individuals pursuing a degree are recommended to visit the website of, and to contact the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to find out what degree programs are offered.

Individuals pursuing certification and who have already completed academic courses in human resources are encouraged to contact the degree granting educational institution/s of choice to determine if these courses may be used for credit towards a degree program.  Please note that this would be at the sole discretion of the degree granting educational institution and based on their specific program policies and requirements.   

Individuals with questions regarding the degree requirement are encouraged to contact the Office of the Registrar at


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